The Minister's Black Veil By Nathaniel Hawthorne

Summary: The Minister's Black Veil by Nathaniel Hawthorne is about a minister who decides to wear a black veil on his face for his entire life. The people of his town do not know why he does wear his veil, but they act different towards him.


Mr. Hooper - minister that decides to wear a veil in front of his face

Elizabeth - Mr. Hooper's wife; she tries to get him to stop wearing the veil, she leaves him when he doesn't

Mr. Clark - tries to get Hooper to remove his veil before death

Section One:

  • The town is happily coming to church; they see Hooper and everyone becomes sober
  • People are confused as to why Hooper is wearing the veil, some are scared, some curious; some believe he has done something wrong and is ashamed of showing his face
  • The people start to feel uncomfortable around Hooper, it is something they sense but cannot put a name to it
  • Elizabeth tries to get Hooper to take off the veil, he tells her he will not in mortal life;
  • Elizabeth tells Hooper she cannot be with him if he wears the veil; Hooper says it is not for eternity just mortal life; she leaves him
  • People come to look at Hooper as being a tortured soul but one that understands them; many will cry for him to come when they are on their deathbeds to confess sins
  • It seems Hooper is wearing the veil to make a point that everyone has something to hide; the veil makes people think of their own sins
  • Hooper is about to die, he still will not take off the veil even after another minister has asked him to remove it; Hooper claims that everyone is wearing a veil, only his is visible;
  • Hooper is buried with his veil on

Other Notes:

  • The wedding Hooper attends becomes very dark, people look at it as a bad omen
  • It seems Hooper is death living; there to remind people that death is always waiting for them; "the minister and the maiden's spirit were walking hand in hand"
  • No one wants to ask Hooper about his veil because they are scared of it; Elizabeth understands the veil separates Hooper from normal moral life; it is there to remind people that the eternal life is the important one and to get there they must acknowledge their sins
  • Hooper will not remove the veil for Elizabeth even once so she leaves him; if he removed the veil it would take away its power
  • Hooper's preaching is sombre with the veil on, but it causes the people to face their own sin

© 2009 copyright The Minister's Black Veil | Nathaniel Hawthorne